For DonorsFor Applicants
user profile avatar

Desiree Coburn


Bold Points






Hello, my name is Desiree', I'm a fifth-year student studying Ecology at Lee University. I love drawing, writing, ad spending time in nature. I hope to become an environmental scientist and advocate as well as a fiction author and artist.


Lee University

Bachelor's degree program
2019 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • Ecology, Evolution, Systematics, and Population Biology


  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:


    • Dream career goals:

      To be connected to all of my interests and balance them accordingly

    • Project Management Intern

      Lee University
      2023 – Present1 year
    • Resident Assistant

      Lee University
      2021 – 20221 year
    • Editor
      2020 – 2020



    Junior Varsity
    2018 – 20191 year


    • None


    2013 – 20152 years


    • Finals Trophy
    • Participation Trophy

    Track & Field

    Junior Varsity
    2018 – 20191 year


    • Participation Ribbon


    2017 – 20192 years


    • Church of God

      Easter, Christmas, Black History Month, Service
      2011 – 2019
    • Church of God

      2011 – Present
    • Independent

    • Church of God

      Easter, Christmas, Black History Month, Services
      2011 – 2019

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Church of God — Supporting volunteer
      2010 – Present

    Future Interests



    Ultimate K-Pop Stan Scholarship
    My favorite K-pop group is Ateez. I started listening to their music in 2021 during my junior year of college. Initially, I found them through a content creator who reacted to and interviewed K-pop groups. They seemed very fun in their interview, so I wanted to find out more about them. I found a couple of early performance videos and was immediately impressed by their dance moves. As someone with experience in dance, I could tell that they had a lot of technical training. That’s when I decided to dive in head-first into their behind-the-scenes content and game episodes. They were very charming, and it was fun seeing them interact with each other. They spent time talking about their aspirations, how to grow as performers, and what they hoped to accomplish with their fandom, ATINY. The members also seemed dedicated to their cause of inspiring young adults who are just beginning to grow up into adults. Although it takes me a while to get into new music, I realized that I had become so enamored with the group that I wanted to support their musical endeavors. One night, when I was working on homework, I decided to play an entire playlist of their 2021 songs. I found so many good songs that caught my interest. I was immediately hooked on the music videos of the songs I liked. I had never seen a K-pop group with their concept. Ateez has impacted my life in two ways. First, as a performer, I really want to get to the level that they are at. I’m an all-around performer, so I can sing, dance, and act. It’s been my passion since I was a child, and it’s been hard pouring into that part of myself as a young adult in college. I have to think about classes, homework, and finances. The second way that they have impacted me is by realizing I don’t have to say “No” to my dreams. Their message is to pursue your dreams and not be convinced by the people around you to give up on them due to fear of the unknown. That resonated a lot with me because I was having a lot of regrets. I regretted coming to the college I’m currently in, I regretted choosing my major, and I felt like my true passions were dying, and I would never have them again. I want to be a dancer, a singer, an actor, an artist, and a creative writer. However, I chose Biology as my major because I wanted financial stability after graduation. So, I felt stuck and hopeless. Listening to their music made me feel hopeful when I was depressed and in despair. I felt like somewhere out there, there were people who genuinely knew how I felt and understood what struggles I was going through. Although I couldn’t talk to them, I feel like just hearing ATEEZ sing and talk about growing up made me feel a lot better. Now, I am pursuing a career in art. I have reached a point of planning out my art business and am looking for auditions to act, dance, and sing. I have also found ways to incorporate science into my art and creative writing the way I want it to be. At the end of the day, I get to decide what my life looks like. I get to be true to myself and not be afraid of what comes my way.
    Mental Health Importance Scholarship
    Mental health has been an increasing topic in the last couple of decades. It was very much considered taboo to talk about before and during the early years of the 21st century because people didn’t want to be seen as abnormal. Unfortunately, this has left a lot of people dealing with mental illnesses or mental hardships without proper help and support to help them get better. Thankfully, there have been many advocates for mental health and the pursuit to improve treatments and solutions who suffer from mental illness and decreased mental health. I believe mental health is important because your mind’s health is just as important if not more important as your body’s health. The mind can be influenced by so many environmental factors. Diet, weather, smells, sounds, and vial stimuli. It can also be influenced by situations like arguments, funny conversations, and sad moments. With mental health, if negative situations are not taken care of properly, it can lead to negative long-term effects. For example, if someone is stuck in stressful situations for prolonged periods of time or even have stressful encounters continuously can leave someone feeling so anxious that they can’t function. Without treatment, anxiety can cause someone to not want to socialize, leave their house, sleep or eat well, and physically feel drained. The problem isn’t just isolated to the mind anymore. I have dealt with mental health problems involving anxiety and situational depression. Growing up, I unfortunately was parented by a narcissistic father. When he got angry or upset over something I did, he would make it a point to hurt my feelings or make me feel guilty. I struggle to stay on his good side. I would obey his rules, not question his opinions, and make sure I was the perfect child. I didn’t truly understand how manipulative his behavior was until I realized in high school that no matter how good I was, I would always have a situation that would incur the wrath of my dad. I also realized that growing up around him created the desire to be perfect and social anxiety. In college, I went to counseling for what I struggled with. I learned how to have healthy social relationships with people, manage stress properly, give myself grace, and steadily increase my level of independence. I am very proud of how far I’ve come. Currently, I try to maintain my mental health through what I learned in counseling. I eat pretty healthy and exercise two days a week. I try to connect with good friends throughout the semester and be involved in on-campus social events. I have enriching hobbies outside of school like language learning, art, and creative writing. I also have a set schedule for homework, chores, and work so I don’t overwhelm myself. I strive to continue these practices post-graduation and through every chapter of my life.
    Top of the Mountain Memorial Scholarship
    I have always been a kid who felt connected to nature. I loved visiting parks with giant pine trees, overflowing bundles of crabgrass sharing space with neighboring wood sorrel, and the ever-present but unassuming varied species of moss. With me, enjoying this perfect set-up, were squirrels, beetles, and occasionally, I’d be in an area that had deer. As I grew older, I started learning more and more about nature through books and TV shows. This love for the natural world has led me to become an undergraduate majoring in Ecology. Throughout my time in college, I have done a few things to influence my campus to try and become more environmentally oriented. I’ve joined a club that encourages people to learn how to garden, offers service hours for picking up trash on hiking trips, and has get-togethers to talk about how nature has influenced us. I’ve also been working with my advisor to try and start a green space on campus and elevate our department’s presence on social media. I helped make plans for what we wanted to accomplish in the green space as well as create events, such as making pinecone birdfeeders, to garner attention. I also tagged and recorded data from the trees in the space. Currently, I am a social media specialist for the Ecology major Instagram page. My job is to post scientific articles, highlight environmental events, and post nature photos from other students.
    Academic Liberty & Free Speech Scholarship
    Free speech allows people to express their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, being censored, or being legally held accountable. This means that anyone with free speech will not experience violence, be forcefully silenced, or be arrested for their opinions. Free speech is mostly associated with America because America has a history of fighting for individual rights. Although free speech is a wonderful gift that people living in America are expected to have, free speech in America is stifled and limited. It can be especially hard in American colleges and universities. College is one of the most important times for someone to exercise free speech and benefit from it. College students are trained and groomed to be functional adults in society. They are not only taught what the career field they jump into expects of them, but they also experience non-career-related classes that round their view of how the world works. These classes are typically history, writing, science, and culture. Within each of these classes, there are books written by authors that could slip in their opinions and ideas of the subject they have written about. Even professors can insert their own opinions or interpretation of the material. Furthermore, peers can influence each other by discussing the material outside of class. Therefore, a student can become easily shaped by their academic environment. Students are given the opportunity to reevaluate what they were taught at home and challenge their established beliefs. In addition, the college will cause students to question what they hear and see, to evaluate it, and if it is good for them, to learn from it. The benefits of free speech include increasing critical thinking skills and independence. Without asking questions about serious topics and receiving input from various sources, an individual cannot form their own conclusions and make choices for themselves. They grab onto the only source of information they have that can present a one-sided view of a complex scenario. Furthermore, it forces someone to be part of a groupthink situation. Not allowing opposing views or opinions will stunt personal growth and exploration. In college, I am studying Environmental Science. Although someone may not associate Environmental science with free speech, science has always had a history of people who took a stand to better the world and faced criticism. Galileo was forced to recant his findings about outer space and Earth’s natural laws and scientists who had early concerns about climate change were ignored. Today, environmentalists struggle to convey the importance of keeping natural species of flora and fauna safe from invasive species and human impact on the environment in an anthropocentric society. In my college, because of the lack of popularity and numbers, students are not given many opportunities to influence environmental issues on campus. The funding of the school often goes to more popular academic departments and projects. Thankfully, there has been growth within the Natural Science department that gives them more support to start environmentally-centered projects. I contributed to trying to get attention to department-related projects by advertising the environmental club and organizing events. Hopefully, as time goes on, free speech will increase. People need a safe space to freely express themselves in any way shape or possible, especially if it is not a threat to others. In fact, free speech will prevent harm to others in the long run because people will become more tolerant of different opinions. As the world becomes more united, we all need to be accepting and open to people’s different views and perspectives.
    Our Destiny Our Future Scholarship
    Changing the world takes a lot of work. The world is filled with many different problems. There’s poverty, pollution, violence, and mental health crisis. Every country on earth deals with these issues. Some countries experience these problems more severely than others. When people want to change the world, it can be an overwhelming feat. To combat the overwhelm, I have decided to focus on a few, small ways I can make a positive impact on the world during my lifetime. As an environmental science major, I have a specific interest in environmental activism, self-sustainability, and environmental education. The earth is humanity’s home, and everyone needs to know how to take care of it. Unfortunately, there are communities in my area and in many other places in the U.S. that do not have access to this understanding. Most nature-based education programs only target small children. All other age groups are neglected and left to find the information on their own, which can be arduous. To bring awareness and educate others, I plan to do three things. First, I want to work for the National Park Service as a park guide or naturalist. These positions offer dual responsibilities to help people understand why the National Parks are important for the environment and to give me a chance to be surrounded by nature. Second, I want to work for AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps offers a lot of community service opportunities, and I would love to be part of environment-related projects such as cleaning up trash and supporting community gardens. Third, I would love to be in a position where I forage, garden, or even farm and offer what I have to others. Self-sustainability can be done solo. But the principles stemmed from community living. I also plan to use social media to show my journey to contribute to the health of the environment and give people tips. I follow a few environmental and sustainability influencers on Instagram, and I enjoy how intentional they are with researching topics and breaking them down for others. They also offer a sharing of opinions and thoughts to gauge how people interpret environmental problems. I want my content to be like theirs, just tailored to self-sustainability, nature facts, clothing, and agriculture. I hope that my efforts will make a difference by the end of my life. People sometimes feel paralyzing pressure to fix all the world’s problems. I have learned that it does not have to be something major and newsworthy. It just has to have a long-lasting effect on someone or something’s life.
    WiseGeek Life Isn’t Easy Scholarship
    Hello, my name is Desiree’. I am a sophomore in college who is currently studying Environmental Sciences. I currently live in Washington DC and have been living there for about 6 years now. Throughout my life, I have always been a quiet and well-behaved child. I was the one who followed the rules all the time, tried to get along with anyone, and let everyone know that I stood up for moral values. I even received complements for it. The most frequent complement was that I was “a breath of fresh air”. Although being the good child was a good thing, I was prone to anxiety because I wanted to please everyone. Especially my parents. Granted, being a good person is not a bad thing. But I rarely questioned my parents and always trusted their advice. I did this so much that I never experienced the “rebellious teenager” phase. This blind obedience came at a price though. One of the lessons that my father emphasized a lot was to not trust strangers. We were to always stick close to him and mom. In stores, in public places, any place that had people we did not know, we were supposed to stick with them. Because I did not trust strangers, I slowly developed social anxiety without even realizing it. It was only until I lived in DC that I realized that something was wrong. In fact, that is where I started suffering from triggers. The first trigger was that DC and Maryland area has a lot of rude people. So, I felt intimidated all the time. I even hated being around my peers. The fear that I had skyrocketed when I went to high school. Before 9th grade, I was homeschooled for 4 years. The safety that my parents promised me was dissipating. I began to feel like I was alone. As the years went by, a strange thing happened. Despite all the time and effort, I put into following my parents’ advice and rules, my parents started to turn against me. During my high school years, I felt like my dad was very dismissive of my feelings. Every time I tried telling him something that upset me, he would always refer to God helping me (my family is religious) or trying a solution that involved aggressive confrontation. He also became very critical of the mistakes I made. No matter how small it was, he would always act like I had done the worst thing in the world. I started turning to my mom for emotional stability. But then she started usurping decisions I made, was very passive aggressive, and would always make it seem like opinions I had were invalid. Now, the family that had promised to value me had turned against me. I finally reached a breaking point at 16 years old. I realized that my parents always taught me to be afraid of the world but never realized how much I had become afraid of them. I started to isolate myself away from parents and dreamed of the day that I would be going to college. I got into more arguments with my dad, stopped talking to my mom about my feelings, and mostly stayed in my room. When I finally left for college, I learned how to be more independent. My social anxiety started to dissipate as I met people who did care about me even though I did not know them very well. I started to come more out of my shell and embrace my liberty. Over time, my disdain for my parents waned. It helped that my mom acknowledged how much of her actions negatively affected me. My dad, on the other hand, acknowledged only some of his actions. However, I think deep down he knows that he hurt my feelings way more than what he admitted and feels some sort of guilt or regret about it. Currently, I have a better relationship with my parents. It is not perfect, but it is ideal. One thing that I am grateful for is that my parents let me have an identity of my own. They were always smuggling me with their beliefs and ideas of what was the best way to go about life. My dad preferred facing a problem head on while I wanted to take my time with things. My mom preferred being friends with everyone in the room while I preferred to keep a small circle of friends. When I decided I had enough of their ways, I think my parents began to realize that I was starting to think for myself. I hope that as time passes by, my parents and I will continue to foster a good relationship.
    Bold Moments No-Essay Scholarship
    On April 1st 2018, my church and I got together for a public food and clothing giveaway. In our area there are a lot of people who are homeless or struggling financially. They made up the majority of our congregation as well. Therefore, the church staff decided to get all the clothes they didn't want anymore to present to the community. We only had a few people stop by. So, the rest of the clothes and items were donated away. I enjoyed it a lot because I felt like I was part of a bigger cause.
    Undiscovered Brilliance Scholarship for African-Americans
    Hello, my name is Desiree’ Coburn. I’m 19 years old and currently live in Washington DC with a family of 5. I have a mom, dad, a younger brother, and a younger sister. We’re all very close with each other. The reason why we’re close is because we’ve done so much together. My family and I have travelled to many different places. When I was 5 years old, we all moved to Japan. My dad was in the air force at the time and was stationed there. We stayed there for four years! It was the greatest time of my life, and I still consider it to be a big part of my childhood. We visited large malls, Disney world, famous landmarks, and parks. We also made a lot of good friends. When we went back to the states, we travelled some more. We went back to our home state, Florida, for about a year and a half. Afterwards, my dad got a job as a mediator in Veterans Affairs, and we moved to Buffalo, New York. We stayed there for about 2 years. Our second to last destination was Maryland. We stayed in the Prince George’s County area for about a year and a half. That’s when we started making a more permanent home. Finally, we made our last stop in Washington DC in 2015. I’ve been living there ever since. I’ve seen a lot of places and experienced a lot of fun things in my life. It’s sown a lot of dreams in me. In fact, there’s so many dreams that I’ve kept since my childhood. However, there are only a few that I’m investing in currently. One is becoming a well-known fine artist. I’ve been painting, drawing, and sketching ever since I was little. It’s a part of me that I hold very dearly. Therefore, I figured it would make a great business idea. Of course, it’s not just supposed to be for personal fulfillment. A business has a product that will benefit others. I haven’t found an audience that enjoys what I enjoy making. However, I’m willing to use my knowledge and skills to make something people want such as logos, designs, and art lessons. Hopefully, once I get a lot of exposure, then I’ll be able to scale back and have my personally fulfilling art become something people want. Another dream I have is to become a well-known author. I loved reading a lot as a child. I especially read a lot of fiction. The worlds within fantasy books like “Warriors” by Erin Hunter and “Killer Pizza” by Greg Taylor filled my mind with ideas for what worlds I could create with words. I am currently fleshing out a couple of fiction books, which brings me closer to my goal. However, I’ve also thought about writing self-help books. I’ve had a lot of personal struggles in my life. Everyone does, but I rarely share what I’ve gone through. I’ve had a rough relationship with my parents because I felt like they didn’t value my character, I’ve dealt with a lot of social anxiety, and have constantly had bouts of bad headaches because of stress from school. Thankfully, I’m doing a lot better now. My parents and I have improved our relationship, my social anxiety has subsided tremendously, and I am learning to manage my stress better. Keeping these things in mind, I think that maybe I could write these types of books to help people going through the same things I did. Especially younger people. When you’re young, you feel like you’re going through life blindly. This feeling increases when it’s time to go to college. That’s why I want to impart some of my experiences with others. Finally, another big dream I have is travelling the world. This is because I travelled to Japan. It was an eye-opening experience for me. Now, I do think I might’ve only seen the good side of everything considering I lived on an American military base and was very young. That’s why I want to travel. I want to refine my worldview and become more sensitive to other cultures. There are too many stereotypes that exist because no one has taken the time to meet someone outside of one’s own culture. I don’t want to be that ignorant. Instead, I want to make new diverse friends and see landmarks that I’ve only read about in textbooks. I think if I become more rounded and sensitive to cultural differences, I’ll be making a difference in the world. Those are only a few of the things I would like to do. As I said in the beginning, I have a lot of dreams. Some are cultivating, and some are taking a bit longer to cultivate. What matters most is that I’m grateful for all the things I’ve accomplished in my life already. Hopefully, there will be more opportunities like that in the future.